Latin Mass Society

Chairman's Blog

08/05/2020 - 18:33

German bishops repent of the past, but not of the present

My latest on LifeSite.
The German Bishops’ Conference has issued an interesting document criticizing the degree to which their predecessors failed to oppose Hitler’s programs of mass murder and his unjust aggression in starting the Second World War. 
It is a complex historical issue, and a fairly long document. But while open to criticism, it makes an important point: that in that situation, the argument of prudence led in the wrong direction. This was a moment when heroism was a duty. The bishops declare:
Inasmuch as the bishops did not oppose the war with a clear ‘no’, and most of them bolstered the (German nation’s) will to endure, they made themselves complicit in the war. The bishops may not have shared the Nazis’ justification for the war on the grounds of racial ideology, but their words and their images gave succor both to soldiers and the regime prosecuting the war, as they lent the war an additional sense of purpose.
It was understandable for the bishops to follow the lead of the Holy See, in the Concordat of 1933. It was understandable for them to want to preserve their ability to administer the Sacraments freely. It was even understandable, if not admirable, for them not to want to fall foul of a ruthless regime untrammeled by the rule of law. The “cooperation” the bishops gave the Nazis was “material”: they never intended any wrongful action. But even this material cooperation was serious and had serious consequences. The suggestion that Hitler was a legitimate leader, and that therefore he should be given the benefit of the doubt about the justness of his laws and policies, smoothed the way for his crimes. In 1933, Catholics had not come under Hitler’s spell, for the most part: they could have made a difference. The bishops chose not to encourage resistance.
It is easy, however, to repent of other people’s sins. If this acknowledgement of past complicity is to have any meaning, it must inform action in the present, when they cannot claim to fear the kind of reprisals the Gestapo would have visited on their predecessors. I am reminded of a more recent example of episcopal cooperation with evil in Germany: as LifeSite reported back in 1999:
05/05/2020 - 10:28

A dialogue with a trans advocate

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

One of the things I think many people struggle with in relation to the transgender movement is, well, understanding the movement’s assertions. As a service to the public, I would like to explore some of the things that the movement’s partisans say, in the form of a dialogue. Imagine I am talking to an apologist for the ideology; let’s call this individual Sam.
Sam: There is nothing complicated or confusing about our new understanding of gender. What is increasingly acknowledged by social norms and legislation is that gender, being a man, being a woman, and being anything else, is a matter above all of feelings. Your feelings, in your mind, are the most important thing about you, and it is natural that we accept that a person who feels she is a woman, for example, really is a woman.
Me: Even though she might have the chromosomes and characteristics typical of a man.
Sam: Yes. The transgender movement was founded by people who felt that their physical characteristics, which society had determined indicated one gender, were at odds with the gender that they felt themselves to be: they were ‘born in the wrong body.’
Me: So there might be, for example, a woman in a man’s body?
Sam: It often felt that way, because physical characteristics tend to determine the way we are treated (that is, as a man, or as a woman), but if gender is determined by the mind, then it would be more accurate to say that the body of a person who identifies as a woman is a woman’s body. She is, after all, a woman.
Support the Latin Mass Society
04/05/2020 - 15:09

Holy Communion in a plastic bag?

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

Someone in the Italian bishops’ conference has had the bright idea that people could be given Holy Communion not on the tongue, not in the hand, but in a plastic bag. There may be some logic to what is being called “take-out” communion from perhaps a hygienic point of view, but Cardinal Robert Sarah, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, was quick to point out that it is, well, “insane.”
Cardinal Sarah said, accord to Crux:
It’s absolutely not possible, God deserves respect, you can’t put him in a bag. I don’t know who thought this absurdity, but if it is true that the deprivation of the Eucharist is certainly a suffering, one cannot negotiate how to receive communion. We receive communion in a dignified way, worthy of God who comes to us.
The Italian bishops’ proposal is extreme, but it is a useful test of an idea which is widespread: that ultimately, it just doesn’t matter, or matters very little, how we receive Holy Communion, or how Mass is celebrated (as long as it is valid). Those who share Cardinal Sarah’s instinct are challenged: would you refuse to receive Holy Communion if you could not do so in a way you personally regarded as adequately respectful? Where is your love of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament if you reject Him on the basis of such trivial inconveniences?
Support the Latin Mass Society
29/04/2020 - 10:39

New and Old Masses in Plaguetime

My latest in the Homiletic and Pastoral Review.

The Church reformed the liturgy at a moment of great optimism. The developed world was enjoying the long post-war boom. Seminaries were full. And new-fangled antibiotics and vaccination programs were sweeping away one major disease after another. It seemed time for a great big group hug.
It is not surprising to find that when medieval-style pestilence stalks the streets, the Church has to reach back into the past, before that brief gilded historical moment, for responses. The most obvious example is “spiritual communion”: the practice of uniting oneself in prayer to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, since one is not able to receive sacramentally. Our predecessors in the Faith used to do this at the great majority of the Masses they attended, either formally or informally, since they received Holy Communion only once or a few times a year. When I mentioned the practice as a response to the epidemic in a letter to the UK’s liberal Catholic weekly, The Tablet, the first response of one priest was ridicule. We wouldn’t, he wrote, have a “spiritual collection,” would we?1
He will have written his reply before public liturgies were suspended. I doubt he is laughing now. 

Read the whole thing.

Support the Latin Mass Society
25/04/2020 - 10:00

Sex and shame

My latest on LifeSite.
I’d like to add something to my recent post about ‘consequence-free sex’, something more about the motivation for chastity. 
In that post, I noted various consequences of the lifestyle of “serial monogamy shading into promiscuity”, which is the expected, if not universal, way of life for unmarried people. 
Among these consequences are the spiritual consequences, which are of ultimate importance. 
Chastity requires heroic resistance to social pressure, and the best foundation for this resistance is a supernatural love of virtue. Nevertheless, in this post I want to say something about another aspect of the situation which tends to be ignored: we might call it disgust at sin, or shame.
When I was a philosophy student, I heard the late Prof. Bernard Williams talking about virtue, and how virtue concepts change over time. There is something in this: the conception of honor found in Homer, for example, is somewhat different from that found in Dickens. The example he used, however, was chastity. As a virtue concept, he said, it had completely lost its applicability in modern moral discourse. It no longer has any meaning.
Williams was wrong. To see this, do an internet search for the term “slut-shaming”. 
Support the Latin Mass Society
24/04/2020 - 17:17

LMS shop re-opened; CTS booklet available

My CTS booklet, 'How to Attend the Extraordinary Form', has arrived in physical form, thanks to the efficiency of the Catholic Truth Society, whose printers and distributors have managed to keep working through the lockdown.

The Latin Mass Society has decided to mail a copy to each of the priests on our mailing list, in the UK and Ireland. That's more than 150. In the peculiar circumstances of the times this could be done most easily from my home.

At the same time I am delighted to announce that the Latin Mass Society's online shop has re-opened. We are still working almost entirely from home but we have made arrangments to be able to fulfil orders, although this may still be a little slower than normal.

So please take yourself off to our shop to buy more copies of this booklet and of all the other things we sell: members get a 5% discount, and there is a bulk discount for the booklet. (You can of course also get the booklet direct from the CTS.)

Support the Latin Mass Society
23/04/2020 - 14:20

Some good, personal, news

Ecce hæreditas Domini, filii ;
merces, fructus ventris.
Sicut sagittæ in manu potentis,
ita filii excussorum.
Beatus vir qui implevit desiderium suum ex ipsis :
non confundetur cum loquetur inimicis suis in porta.

Support the Latin Mass Society
22/04/2020 - 13:03

52nd Anniversary of the Abortion Act

Another LifeSite piece. The anniversary will be Monday 27th.

Next Monday, April 27th is the 52nd anniversary of the coming into effect of the UK’s Abortion Act (1967), the key legislation which opened up abortion on a mass scale in England, Wales, and Scotland. 
The government has been celebrating early, first by imposing abortion on Northern Ireland, to which the Act never applied, and then by loosening the rules on ‘do it yourself’, home abortions, in the context of the Coronavirus epidemic.
A lot of things have happened since 1967 in the UK, as in other jurisdictions, which have clarified the issues at stake. The Member of Parliament who sponsored the passage of this law—it was not a government bill—later admitted that he had grossly underestimated the number of abortions that would be performed under the Act. 
If the vast number of deaths the Act would bring about had been foreseen when it was being debated, it would have been much harder to get it passed. The same goes for the way that safeguards have been interpreted and evaded. But isn’t that always the way? The radical agenda is forced through with the claim that each change is quite minor. When it turns out that it is anything but, the promoters say, oh well, but there’s no going back now.

Read the rest on LifeSite.

Support the Latin Mass Society
21/04/2020 - 13:01

Harvard's attack on home educatioin

My recent article for LifeSite.


Harvard Law School appears to be coordinating an attack on home-education. A planned conference appears to be intended as a pile-on by critics of homeschooling. Harvard Magazine has published an approving summary of an 80-page article in the Harvard Law Review by Professor Elizabeth Bartholet about why home-education should be banned. The Harvard Magazine account cites no dissenting or alternative views. 

Wags on social media have pointed out that the cartoon accompanying Harvard Magazine’s piece manages to misspell “Arithmetic” (“Arithmatic”). Matthew Peterson (@docMJP) definitely won Twitter with his observation, “If you replace ‘homeschooling’ with ‘attending Harvard’ a lot of the article makes sense.” He illustrated:
“We have an essentially unregulated regime in the area of elite Ed,” @docMJP asserts. All 50 states have laws that make education compulsory, & state constitutions ensure a right to education, “but if you look at the legal regime governing elite colleges, there are very few requirements that professors teach anything of value.” Even apparent requirements such as submitting curricula, or providing evidence that teaching and learning are taking place, he says, aren’t necessarily enforced.
Since the article, like a great deal of elite education, is patently driven by ideological concerns, the point is well made.
What of the underlying academic article? My brief review of it suggests that it suffers from three fundamental flaws.
Support the Latin Mass Society
20/04/2020 - 14:08

Fr Anthony Conlon, Requiescat in pace


Fr Anthony Conlon died last night after a long illness. He had been the National Chaplain of the Latin Mass Society for many years until 2009 and continued to celebrate Masses for us in many different places.

He was a priest of Westminster Archdiocese but became Chaplain to the Oratory School, and when he retired from that he became Parish Priest of nearby Goring. This was in my own area of local activity so I often asked him to celebrate the 'occasional' Masses I organise around Oxford in odd places.

He was also for many years a Chaplain of the British Association of the Order of Malta, and in this context could be addressed as 'Monsignor'.

These photographs show him celebrating the Traditional Mass in the chapel of Milton Manor; in Our Lady of Light, Long Crendon; Our Lady and St Anne, Caversham (at the LMS annual Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Caversham); in St Mary Moorfields (for the 10 Year annivesary Requiem Mass of Micahel Davies); and in St James', Spanish Place (for the Requiem of Prince Rupert Loewenstein).

Another image of him in Milton Manor adorns the front cover our our Ordinary Prayers booklet.

We will organise a splendid Requiem for him of course: as soon as we can. In the meantime he richly deserves our remembrance and prayers.





Support the Latin Mass Society

Charity web design by Turtlereality

© LMS 2016 | Registered Charity Number: 248388 | Terms & Conditions

Latin Mass Society, 11 - 13 Macklin Street, London, WC2B 5NH | 020 7404 7284 |